In this project you will study genome evolution of early land plants. While mosses represent one of the first groups of land plants, fossil records as well as biogeographic distributions suggest a very slow rate of morphological evolution. Based on these observations, and that more than 90% of moss species present at the end of the Tertiary seem to be present today, mosses have been characterised as “unchanging sphinxes of the past”. The reasons for these observations are unknown, but it has been suggested that the evolutionary potential of bryophytes is limited by a low rate of molecular evolution. A major part of the project will be devoted to comparative studies of a number of moss genomes to answer this question. Other sub-projects are focused on the molecular evolution of specific mechanisms e.g., circadian clock mechanisms, the genetics of adaptation in early land plants, and phylogenetic studies.
An MSc degree of equivalent in a relevant field is required. We seek a highly motivated student with thorough education and strong interest in evolutionary genetics/genomics, and population genetics. Previous experience with modern sequencing methods, bioinformatics, and statistics is advantageous. We are looking for individuals who can work independently but also as part of a team. Candidates must be fluent in English (orally and written). The successful candidate will receive her/his postgraduate training within the postgraduate school at the Evolutionary Biology Centre that is one of world’s leading research institutions in evolutionary biology.